4
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Tom: I drew a mysterious alphanumeric character and showed it to Harry.
Dick: Harry, was it a letter or a number?
Harry: I'm not sure!
Dick: Assuming it was a letter, was it uppercase or lowercase?
Harry: It could have been either.
Dick: Assuming it was a number, was it odd or even?
Harry: Even.

What did Tom draw?

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6 Answers 6

5
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He drew

a circle.

Explanation

It could have been either a letter or a number, so it must have been 0/O/o, 1/I/l, or 5/S/s. Of these, only 0 is even.

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2
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    $\begingroup$ You neglect the possibility of 2/Z/z $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2017 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ @JeffZeitlin They look very different in my handwriting, but I suppose that's a possibility. $\endgroup$
    – user27014
    Aug 23, 2017 at 18:16
8
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Assuming

he is not using Roman numerals (already an answer)

He drew a

0/o/O or 2/z/Z

all of which look similar if you have no context and based on the person's handwriting and are even

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6
  • $\begingroup$ I would dispute 2 looking like z. I've never seen handwriting where a 2 isn't curved at the top. $\endgroup$
    – rybo111
    Aug 23, 2017 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ @rybo111 Well, (now you have)[upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/…. Granted, that's from 1757. There are some fonts that do it, too, but that's not handwriting. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2017 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ @EngineerToast If the riddle was written in 1757 or was about fonts I might feel more inclined to accept your point ;) $\endgroup$
    – rybo111
    Aug 23, 2017 at 18:59
  • $\begingroup$ @rybo111 my Dad grew up in Germany and he crosses his Zs so that they don't look like 2s. He also crosses his 7s. $\endgroup$
    – Stephen S
    Aug 23, 2017 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ @EngineerToast for next time, [text](link) $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Aug 24, 2017 at 3:24
6
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Well, possible answers are

O, X, V, I, D, M, C, L

of

Roman numerals except O !

and based on further answers by Dick, only

'O' is eligible to be single alphanumeric character that satisfies the conditions.

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3
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    $\begingroup$ It would appear to me that there are two other possibilities - the one immediately after your choice, and the next-to-last one of your list. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2017 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ Given the ambiguity of letter case AND the parity of the numeric value, I would say that three of the value in your list would quality. Jeff Zeitlin is right. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2017 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @EngineerToast and I think actually 2 and 0 are wrong answers bc 0 is not a circle. and 2 and z look different and It doesn't matter if some people have bad handwriting and write them similarly. $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2017 at 5:44
2
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I think he draw

the cyrillic letter Be: б

It looks like

number 6

and

its ascender makes it big enough to pass as uppercase.

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3
  • $\begingroup$ OK, that's a nice non-Latin-alphabet alternative :-) $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2017 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! And based on thegreatemu's answer, there are two other characters from this same alphabet which look like (my "number" - 2). Should I add them? $\endgroup$
    – passerby
    Aug 23, 2017 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, good idea! $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2017 at 22:54
1
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I think he drew:

c/C

Because:

C in hexadecimal is 12 in decimal. If you drew C without context, it could be interpreted as the letter C or the number C represents. If we assume it is the letter, c/C look the same without other letters for scale. If we assume it is a number, C is even.

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1
  • $\begingroup$ Your ... radical ... suggestion is interesting, but I commend to your attention the cornerstone of a Significant Building. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2017 at 18:18
0
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He drew a

'h' or '4' or 'Y'

Because:

h is a lowercase letter
rotate 180 degrees and you get a capital 'Y' in some handwriting
The same rotation produces a numeral '4'

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